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The pump house on Naval Row once powered dock cranes Poplar Baths, with its art deco flourishes, opened in 1934 The former Jerusalem Coffee House in Follett Street d they will come ere’s a wealth of amazing architecture in Poplar d slashed arrow-slit windows l Saints and Aberfeldy Soon you’re in a completely different world, surrounded by gleaming office blocks built on land reclaimed from the East India Docks. The street names – Nutmeg Lane, Clove Crescent, Saffron Avenue – hint at the cargoes once handled here. Follow the mock canal right – past David King’s Shadow Play sculpture – to Mulberry Place (7), so named because floating mulberry harbours for the D-Day landings were made here. Today this serves as the Tower Hamlets town hall, a nerve centre for all manner of council services including education, health, housing, leisure and social care. Outside Lighterman House, Kim Bennett’s bronze Domino Players are poised during a game – join them on the fourth seat. And by the lake, Maurice Blik’s Renaissance sculpture depicts a delicately kissing couple. By the red post boxes, wander out into Naval Row. You’re now skirting the fortress-like wall, some 20 feet high, designed to prevent pilfering of valuable cargoes from the docks. The former pump-house (8) – with an Italianate accumulator tower – powered the dock cranes and locks from 1857, and further along The Steamship maintains the maritime flavour. Cyclists whizz by, shuttling between Barking and Tower Gateway on the blue CS3 cycle super highway. Opposite Poplar Mosque and Community Centre, nip into Robin Hood Gardens (9). Like Balfron Tower, this remarkable 1960s social housing development is much visited by architecture students. Designed by husband and-wife team Alison and Peter Smithson, the two blocks were constructed with pre-cast concrete and incorporate wide walkways to form ‘streets in the sky’. See it whilst you can, before the area is redeveloped as Blackwall Reach. Wander beside the central green and the sports court – with Olympic-inspired murals – and head to the far corner. Beyond Cotton Street, you emerge facing Charles Hollis’ All Saints Church. Skirt around the railings, heading left. In Bazeley Street there’s a glimpse of the Greenwich Pensioner, an ivy-clad 1827 pub with Taylor Walker tiling. All Saints Church (10)was opened in 1823, at a time when wealthy merchants moved here to be near their dock-based businesses. Remarkably, the rector retains the right – thankfully not exercised – to close East India Dock Road to prevent noise during the time of Divine Service. As you approach, look up to the grand portico and sleek white spire, some 160 feet high. If it’s open, check out the scale model by architect Charles Hollis on display inside. More recently, Newby Place Health Centre (11) was opened as an integrated primary care centre. A plaque presents a rather morbid greeting to visitors – before the foundations were started, the bodies of over 1,500 cholera victims had to be exhumed from a burial ground here. It’s worth a quick look inside, before returning to All Saints DLR station, the end of your walk. St Nick’s Church has a ceiling made of painted canvasses Charles Hollis-designed All Saints Church in Poplar 17 – 23 FEBRUARY 2014 N E W S FROM TOWER HAMLETS COUNCIL AND YOUR COMMUNITY 19


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